Bahrain upholds jail sentence for rights activist Nabil Rajab

A Bahraini appeals court yesterday upheld a two-year prison term handed down earlier against a prominent rights activist, according to local media and the activist’s own Twitter account.

In July, Nabil Rajab, 53, was slapped with two years behind bars for “disseminating false news, statements and rumours about the Kingdom’s internal situation”.

“The court of appeal upheld the [July] sentence against Rajab,” read a tweet on the activist’s Twitter account, which is run by his close associates.

According to the account, Rajab was slapped with the two-year jail term after declaring in recent televised interviews that Bahrain was “preventing human rights organisations and the international press from entering [Bahraini capital] Manama”.

Read: Three Bahraini opposition members sent to trial on charges that include ‘spying for Qatar’

Several local media outlets, including Bahraini dailies Al-Ayyam and Al-Khaleej News, confirmed yesterday’s court verdict, which is still subject to appeal before the Court of Cassation, Bahrain’s highest appeals’ court.

Rajab was arrested in June last year, less than a year after Bahraini King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa pardoned him for “health reasons” after he was handed a six-month jail term for “insulting” two government ministries in a tweet.

A prominent rights activist and head of the now-suspended Bahraini Centre for Human Rights, Rajab is also a member of the New York-based Human Rights Watch’s advisory board for the Middle East and North Africa.

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